A New Anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers of America: Love in the Lowcountry, Volume Two

by Paula Gail Benson

When I first became serious about writing, I joined a chapter of the Romance Writers of America, the Lowcountry Romance Writers (LRWA), based in Charleston, S.C. A friend from Columbia and I would travel back and forth on highway I-26E every month (about a 90-minute journey each way) to hear wonderful presentations about craft and marketing as well as to meet other writers and learn about their projects and goals.

My concentration has always been more on mystery and suspense fiction, but for a while the LRWA was the only local active group that provided contacts and insight on the publication industry. I learned a great deal and was very appreciative of the information I received.

A few years ago, I thought about discontinuing my LRWA membership because I had joined several Sisters in Crime chapters and had become involved with the Mystery Writers of America and its regional Southeast chapter (SEMWA). Then, LRWA offered its members the opportunity to have their short stories published in a chapter anthology. I had been writing short stories and felt like I would like to try my hand at romance, so I continued to belong to the chapter. To be accepted for the anthology, each story had to take place during the winter holidays (Thanksgiving to New Years), take place in Charleston, go through two vigorous beta readings, and meet deadlines. In addition, each author had to develop promos to be used in social media. (I have always been impressed that romance writers know how to effectively sell their fiction!) The whole process was like boot camp and it was tremendously successful. Love in the Lowcountry gave both experienced and new writers a chance for publication and the sales made money for the chapter. I felt it a true privilege to be part of the work.

This year, the chapter decided to develop Love in the Lowcountry, Volume Two. Like the first volume, it included established writers along with debut authors. It expanded the holiday season (from Halloween to Valentine’s Day) and the territory (anywhere in South Carolina). The eleven included romances feature contemporary and historical settings; time travel, magical realism, and paranormal elements; sweet to spicy storylines; and LGBTQ+ characters.

Here’s a brief summary of each story:

“A Sunrise Christmas” by Linda Joyce – In others, Lauren “sees” their heart’s desire, but Justice hopes he can open her eyes to love.

“Candlemas” by Paula Gail Benson – Can they find their way through time, and to love?

“Chase” by Suzie Webster – A Lowcountry Liaisons Short Story – He thought love wasn’t in the cards, but a second chance may change his luck.

“Edi-Snow!” by HM Thomas – After the storm, the snow won’t be the only thing melting.

“Let Me Call You Sweetheart” by J. Lynn Rowan – One disappointed in romance. The other hiding from life. A chance encounter makes them wonder – could this be true love?

“Maeve’s Welcome Home” by Addie Bealer – Friends. Lovers. Business rivals. Can they have it all?

“No Regrets” by Robin Hillyer-Miles – Neither planned to be single and sixty but a cute meet and an intense attraction could change all that.

“Second Chances” by Victoria Houseman – Second chances are often the best chances when it comes to love.

“The One That I Want” by Elaine Reed – Charleston welcomed her with open arms, but she longs for a different embrace.

“Watchman’s Remedy” by Victoria Benson – Struggling to understand her reality, Cora falls…for an 18th century pirate.

“When It’s Meant to Be” by Danielle Gadow – Relationships evolve, but how will they know “When It’s Meant to Be”?

By purchasing Love in the Lowcountry, Volume 2, you’ll be helping to support LRWA, which in turn will continue to offer authors programs to improve their craft and marketing skills. Please give it your consideration.

NaNoWriMo 2022

Let’s All NaNoWriMo… or Not

by Bethany “NaNoWriMo” Maines

NaNoWriMo Wha?

I don’t really believe in NaNoWriMo AKA National Novel Writing Month.  Partially just because I object strenuously to the clunky abbreviation.  But also because the goal of writing fifty thousand words in a month reduces novel writing to a very basic component—words. Writing fifty-thousand words is an accomplishment of a sort, but having the right fifty-thousand requires a bit more of a skill.  However, the NaNoWriMo community supplies great camaraderie and inspiration to a multitude of writers, and if an artificial deadline and contest get some people to put fingers to keyboard then I raise my glass in cheers.  And usually that’s it.

Soooo why am I doing this?

This year the fates have conspired to arrange my projects to have a novel that needs to be written this month.  I would really like to put out the next trilogy in my Supernatural paranormal romance world next summer.  The Rejects Pack is a fun, Indiana Jones / The Mummy inspired series featuring more wolves, warlocks, romance, and an ancient Egyptian artifact or two.  Also maybe a mummy that comes back from the dead.  (Shhh.  Don’t tell anyone.)  And with Book 1 out to my beta readers already, you would think I wouldn’t feel the need to rush book 2 and 3.  Butttt…. I keep eyeballing the amount of plot I’m intending to shove into book 3 and I’m just a little bit worried that my trilogy is going to become a tetralogy.

Tetralogy means a four book series. In case you don’t want to have to google it like I did.

And then…

And then there’s the fact the holidays are almost here (YAY!!!) and I have a new novella coming out this month!  I’m busy is what I’m saying.  So I’m trying to hedge my bets and leave myself time for a book 4 by cramming book 2 into November.  And of course it will be fun to watch the NaNoWriMo communities progress.  You can keep up with my progress and learn about Killian and Moira and their hunt for the long lost Library of Alexandria on Facebook and Instagram.

But Speaking of Christmas

If you’ve got a hankering for a Christmas mystery rom-com check out Winter Wonderland!

ORDER (all retailers):  books2read.com/Winter-Wonderland

WINTER WONDERLAND: When Marcus Winters, a photographer with a bah humbug take on the holidays, meets Larissa Frost, a set designer who loves all things Christmas, sparks are destined to fly. But when a famous diamond goes missing from the shoot they’re working on Larissa finds that Marcus may be the only one who can keep her from being framed for a crime she didn’t commit.

 

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Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of action-adventure and fantasy tales that focus on women who know when to apply lipstick and when to apply a foot to someone’s hind end. She can usually be found chasing after her daughter, or glued to the computer working on her next novel (or screenplay).  You can also catch up with her on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

 

The Fallen Man Release

by Bethany Maines

The Fallen Man Release!

Next week sees the release of the fourth book in the Deveraux Legacy series – The Fallen Man. I suspect that each author picks their projects based on something in the story that they want to explore. For me this series started out as an exploration of why the broody, possessive, and sometimes abusive, “alpha” males are still getting plenty of romance novels written about them. The first, and most obvious answer is that they’re fictional. Like Vegas, the things that happen between the covers of a book, stay in the book. I suspect that a lot of people who enjoy those characters in fiction, would not appreciate those behaviors in real life.

How Did We Get Here?

I read one romantic comedy where the hero broke into her apartment with three other guys and relocated all her things to his house. Not surprisingly, for fiction, she didn’t call the cops. In real life, that’s a quick trip to the nearest police station. Also, did he manage to get her rice cooker? She had roommates—how did he know what furniture was hers? And did he rummage through her drawers and see any… toys? Inquiring minds want to know. Then there are the “dark romances” where the heroines somehow manage to get kidnapped, forced into marriage, or held hostage and still fall in love with their captors. I mean, Stockholm Syndrome is real, but… ladies! Come on!

I also wonder how similar these romances are to the crime thrillers, where women inevitably end up raped and murdered while the broody hero solves the crime. In both genres, it seems like perhaps the reader gets to control the abuse and trauma that is quite frightening in real life.

I’m Fun! I Swear!

All of which makes my series sound like a real downer when, in fact, it is an action-packed family saga. But my characters did grow from this space of pondering fictional traumas. In each book of the series, one of the Deveraux cousins struggles with their family’s past legacy of trauma and attempts to make peace with it. And, oh, dodge some killers, solve a mystery, and, of course, find love. Hopefully, none of my readers are out there thinking… “Call the cops! He’s a nutter!”

What do you think? Are the alpha-hole “heroes” still fun to read? Or have we reached a different standard of heroism?

 

👉 Pre-Order from all retailers: https://books2read.com/FallenMan

THE FALLEN MAN: When orphan and convicted felon Jackson Zane realized that he was part of the wealthy Deveraux family, he thought he’d found his proverbial happily ever after. And for the last seven years, Jackson has dedicated himself to fixing and protecting his new family, all while ruling out love for himself. Until now.

A banner shows the four Deveraux Legacy novels, and the prequel novella over the New York city skyline.

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Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Holiday Novella

by Bethany Maines

A New Holiday Novella

Oh my goodness!  COVID down time actually came through for me this year and I have finished, yes that’s right actually finished, the holiday novella I’ve been planning on getting around to for last THREE years.  Way back in 2017 I completed what I would consider a long short story called Oh Holy Night about a graphic designer and a bank robbery that goes badly.  And then I followed that up with the award-winning Blue Christmas the following year.  Blue was about a college student, an adorable French Bulldog and a whole lot of smuggled diamonds. As you can guess from the descriptions, these aren’t the traditional Hallmark Christmas stories.  But they are romantic funny adventures about people who learn to love the Christmas season.

What Christmas Carol is Next?

Winter Wonderland completes the trilogy with a story about Bah-Humbug photographer Marcus Winters and a set designer Larissa “I love Christmas” Frost who find themselves involved in a robbery gone wrong and must solve the mystery of “whodunnit” before Larissa ends up in jail for a crime she didn’t commit.  The fun part about the novella is that it let’s me get back in the mystery writing zone.  And jeez, now I remember why that was hard! The clues, the suspects, the timeline!  Every time I write a mystery, I respect other mystery writer’s even more.

What is the question?

Every book has a question in it that the protagonists are trying to answer. Whether that question is philosophical to themselves and their world or whether it’s something literal like “where’s the money” the question has to be answered in a satisfactory way order to deliver on the promise of the book.  But with a mystery, not only are the protagonists trying to answer the question of “who committed the crime” the reader is too.  And staying a step ahead of the reader and the characters in the story is hard work for a writer. Authors can fall back on several tricks to make the mystery work–choosing when to reveal information, letting information exist on the page without drawing attention to it, deliberately calling out false clues (red herrings!)–but in the end, a mystery only works if the crime is solvable and for that a writer cannot whimsically wave their hand at the end.  An author has to know how, who, where, and why and then, if your me, also toss in a romance, some character development, and hopefully a decent turn of phrase.

It has been fun to venture into the mystery world once again and I’m more than pleased to complete the story that’s been on my to-do list for three years.  I hope that readers will enjoy it too.  Look for Winter Wonderland in November of 2022.

Want to know more about Winter Wonderland?

Click Here: https://bethanymaines.com/romanticsuspense/

PreOrder Here: https://books2read.com/winter-wonderland/

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Bethany MainesBethany Maines drinks from an arsenic mug the award-winning author of romantic action-adventure and mystery novels that focus on women who know when to apply lipstick and when to apply a foot to someone’s hind-end.  When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

 

 

 

 

Bethany Maines drinks from an arsenic mug

Maverick Release Day

by Bethany Maines

Maverick Cover, a paranormal romance from Bethany MainesRelease Day

There comes a time in every author’s life when they just go mad and shout “EEET’S ALIVVVVVVVVVVE!” like a mad scientist.  Usually that time is 12:01 am on the release day of their latest book.

Yesterday was that day for me. Maverick, the latest in my Paranormal Romance world of the Supernaturals launched itself out into the world.  Each release day is a little different.  Sometimes we do it up big and smash champagne across the bow and sometimes it’s more of a Bon Voyage as we wave from shore.

Maverick is more of wave from shore launch.  The Three Colors Trilogy that set up the world were done in a “quick release” style with a book coming out every five weeks.  And while that was fun, it was also tiring.  Maverick is a stand-alone book in that same world, that for fans will answer some “but what happens next?” questions and for readers new to the world will be a fun introduction. And while I’ve scheduled a few things, I didn’t feel up to an entire launch sequence.

I enjoyed writing Maverick because although it is part of an existing world it isn’t part of a series.  Series are great because the world of the books gets developed and fleshed out, but they do cause all kinds of chaos and headaches in the plotting.  But with Maverick, I got all the fun of writing in a world where I knew all of the rules, but I didn’t have to worry about setting up the next book.  And the romance ends with a happily ever after (of course) and we can safely the main characters to their happy ending with out any cliffhangers or worrying that it will all be upended next book.

So if you’re looking for a spicy dose of paranormal romance and adventure that won’t leave you hanging – check out Maverick.  Or check out the Three Colors Trilogy for more shmexy shifters with their shirts off.  bethanymaines.com/supernaturals/ I hope readers will enjoy them as much as I have!

MAVERICK: Maverick Lacasse—shifter wolf, bank robber, rebel—didn’t mean to take Deya Jasper with him on his way out of Littleton Texas, but fate had other plans. But as the two flee for California, vampires dog their every step, and both Deya and Maverick find themselves questioning if the unexpected bond they feel can withstand the dangers they face.

ADD MAVERICK ON GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60863243-maverick

BUY NOW: https://amzn.to/36CMNti

LEARN MORE: https://bethanymaines.com/supernaturals/

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Bethany Maines the award-winning author of romantic action-adventure and fantasy novels that focus on women who know when to apply lipstick and when to apply a foot to someone’s hind-end.  She has published several independent novels, two novels with Atria, and many short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

New Website

Welcome to the brand new website for the Stiletto Gang!

The Stiletto Gang is excited to announce our new website. We think you’re going to love it!

In fact, you are the reason we moved from Blogger to WordPress and created our new website. Readers were frustrated that they couldn’t get digest emails (sign up in the upper right corner!) And with more features, easier navigation, more info about each Gang member and our books, the new website is a breath of fresh air for our writers and readers alike.

We’ve moved the majority of our old posts over, so you can still find (and search) the old content and comment on the new posts.  In fact you check out all our posts in the Archives, read more about our author Gang, and check out our fabulous Books.

The gang is excited to be moving into this more technologically advanced era and we hope you are too!  Thank you to all of our past readers and welcome to any new ones.  We value your support and hope that we can provide entertaining and informative content.

Happy reading!

A Little Red

 by Bethany Maines

Tomorrow is release day for A Little Red, book 1 of my newest series – The 3 Colors Trilogy.  I’m trying several new things with this series. While I’ve written fantasy before, I’ve never tried my hand at paranormal romance.  I’m also using a quick release strategy and putting out the entire trilogy within 3 months so that everyone can binge on the completed series like Netflix.  And I’m using a low release week price (¢.99!!). With the new genre and the non-traditional sales strategies I have to admit that I’m nervous for tomorrow.

Those nerves have been a bit mitigated by the early reviews.  Whether or not the series is a sales success remains to be seen, but at least the Advance Readers are thoroughly enjoying the story. 

“This fantastic page-turner is a paranormal romance that sizzled, and it excited and riveted me. The beautiful plot, unique storyline, stylish writing, and careful development of the story and characters locked me in for the entire ride.”
– Readers’ Favorite 

The series is a fun, angsty romance trilogy with a trio of siblings as they meet and fall in love with shifter wolves. There are bad guy warlocks, good girl witches, and a few more magical beings roaming around because if I’m going paranormal I’m not stopping with wolves. The fun part about writing this series was trying to establish how each creature and species would interact with our modern world. Of course it also meant debating the proper system of capitalization of supernatural creatures and whether or not wolves liked blueberries.  Although, on the blueberries, I’m completely backed up by science – they do. A Little Red is, of course,  inspired by Little Red Riding Hood and even includes a grandma (don’t worry, she lives).  Bringing Little Red and her wolf together was enormously fun, and I’m happy to report that this fairy tale comes complete with a Happily Ever After.  I really enjoyed writing these tales of love, magic, and good vs. evil and I hope readers will enjoy taking the journey with me.  Here’s a quick little blurb, to find out more, try the links below.

A Little Red: Scarlet Lucas went out on Halloween dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, but she never expected her boss, the mysterious and ferociously attractive Liam Grayson to turn out to be the Wolf. But when Liam is the victim of a vicious attack that leaves him trapped in wolf form, Scarlet must face down not only warlocks, but Liam’s own pack in order to save him.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE SERIES:  https://amzn.to/3DZQHbf

BUY A LITTLE RED:  https://amzn.to/3BFrh0t

READ THE FIRST CHAPTER: https://bethanymaines.com/supernaturals-chapter-1/

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Bethany Maines is the award-winning author of the Carrie Mae Mysteries, San Juan Islands Mysteries, Shark Santoyo Crime Series, and numerous
short stories. When she’s not traveling to exotic lands, or kicking some
serious butt with her black belt in karate, she can be found chasing her
daughter or glued to the computer working on her next novel. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, FacebookInstagram, and BookBub.

Bethany Maines’ The Cinderella Secret a book review by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Aiden Deveraux is a hot-shot lawyer with a secret identity—the mask wearing street-fighter named Number Nine. But when his family’s company is threatened, Aiden faces his toughest opponent yet, the brilliant and gorgeous Ella Zhao. Ella is in New York to bring down the people to blame for her father’s death—the Deveraux family—and she’s not about to let some Prince Charming lawyer like Aiden stop her. But as Aiden and Ella scramble to uncover the past that no one, including their own families, wants revealed, they find themselves running from a murderer who knows the Deveraux and Zhao all too well. With their hearts, lives, and millions of dollars on the line, Aiden and Ella may have to trust each other with their secrets if they want to make it out of this fight alive.

 Dear Reader, 

I’d love to introduce you to a new novel by Bethany Maines. The Cinderella Secret is my new favorite romance mystery. I love the characters and the author has a great sense of humor that makes me laugh out loud. 

The first book in this series The Second Shot hooked me and I waited patiently for this sequel to be written. The release date was October 19th, 2020 and I downloaded to Kindle and began reading. I read through breakfast, lunch, supper and until I could no longer keep my eyes open. I finished the book today and can’t wait to read the next one. 

What can I say, I’m a romantic fool and I love Bethany’s writing style. The action scenes are wild and full of kicking, punching, and smashing. The love scenes are wild with sex, sex, and more sex. The comedy keeps it light hearted and fun. 

I recommend this author to my friends and especially this book, The Cinderella Secret. It’s my new favorite and Bethany gets five stars for writing a book that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on and five stars for not disappointing in the sequel to the Second Shot. 

I’m hooked and I want to share these romance novels with you. Take my word for it you will fall in love with these characters and their crazy lifestyle of sex, money, and mayhem.